Raidmax Helios Review – ATX-819WB mid-tower gaming computer case

Introduction

Once reserved only for deluxe rigs, fancy cases are now in the price range of everybody that intends to build their own system. We were recently provided with one of RAIDMAX latest gaming computer chassis, the attractive Helios and soon proceeded to install some hardware in it, put it to work for several days at heavy load without interruption and the experience and the results are described in this Raidmax Helios review. let us know what you think of it and, if you have any specific questions, we’ll be more than happy to answer them!

dsc_3734

Raidmax Helios Design

The Helios gaming case is, considering the price, one of the best looking on the market today. The dual front blue LED lighted fans give it a Hi-Tech appearance while heavily contributing to the cooling system, the left side panel features  a smoky plastic window where you can mount an additional lighted fan. Among the design elements that need to be mentioned, the case includes a modular double cage that can host 2.5″ SSD drives or 3.5″ hard-drives (for a total of 4) and a tool-free mounting system for the front drives as well. Also in the front, you can find the I/O Ports (2 USB 2.0. audio, e-SATA, or 1 USB 3.0, e-SATA and 1 USB 2.0 for Helios VL model). The green power LED is placed on the left with the red HDD activity LED on the right. The power switch is below the green power LED with the RESET button on the right, also below the HDD LED.

dsc_3750

The power supply goes to the bottom, which is fairly unusual and you can mount it with the fan facing up or down (a venting hole is also provided at the bottom of the case with a removable dust filter). Screw holes for mounting the power supply in both positions are provided as well.

dsc_3763

The case is large, provides space for every ATX format including very long graphic cards. The cable management system is basic, but useful. There are some nice photos on RAIDMAX’s website (link at the beginning of the article) that you can study before making a purchase decision.

An interesting touch is the attractive new cover system for the 5.25″ front bays that can be removed with a simple push. The updated Helios VL model can stack the four bays horizontally or vertically.

dsc_3768

Update: Raidmax released an improved Helios case called Helios VL. The VL model replaces one of the front USB 2.0 ports with an USB 3.0 version, a welcome addition if you want to build a modern system, and, equally important, a much improved  cable management system with a 25mm (1 inch) space between the motherboard support plate and the side panel. You can now fit all your cables in the space provided.

The HDD rack gets an upgrade as well with dual stacking mode available now (horizontal, 2 by 2 or a 4 bays vertical stack).

 

Specifications and Features

EXTERNAL DRIVE BAYS:	3 X 5.25"
INTERNAL DRIVE BAYS:	4 X 3.5" H.D.
SYSTEM BOARD:	        10” X 12” MAX SIZE ATX FORM FACTOR / MICRO ATX
EXPANSION SLOTS:	STANDARD ATX 7 SLOTS
I/O PORTS:	        2 X USB2.0 / 2 x AUDIO / 1 x E-SATA
DIMENSIONS:	        530(L) X 225(W) X 475(H)mm (20" x 8" x
COOLING SYSTEM

FRONT:	2 X 120mm blue LED fans
SIDE:	1 x 120mm blue LED fan (optional)
BACK:	1 x 120mm Black frame with Blue leaves fan
TOP:	1 x 120mm Black frame with Blue leaves fan

Installation and testing

One of the things I really like about Helios case is that it provides plenty of space for even a large motherboard and is also deep enough for the humongous video cards on the market today. Remember the good old tiny VGA video cards from 10-15 years ago? The last card I put my hands on it had several pounds of weight, 12″ length and 350+W thermal envelope (see GTX 590) and I am happy to report that Helios can easily accommodate two of such monsters and does a quite good job at keeping everything cool.

dsc_3754

I paired the Helios case with one of RAIDMAX’s best power supplies available, the RAIDMAX RX-1200AE 1200W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply, a true monster in itself (see our in-depth RX-1200AE review). As expected, it fit easily in its designated place without needing to remove the modular HDD bays. In the following photo, the bays are removed however because I do not need them in my configuration and I prefer  my case with the clutter reduced to the minimum to improve the air flow.

dsc_3794

Cable management system

RAIDMAX Helios does have a cable management system but nothing too amazing, like the one used, for example in a full tower server case. Still, in my tests it certainly helped organizing some of the longer cables that I wanted out of the way, particularly the SATA and front I/O ports ones. I used the cable management system after taking photos, but I’ll update the review as soon as I will take the new photos.

Update: The new Helio VL model improves over the standard case by increasing the space available for cable management to 25mm (1 inch) of space. You now have much more space to hide your messy cables.

Drives

Helios can hold three 5.25″ drives in the front sporting a tool-free mount and also 4 X 3.5″ / 2.5″ internal modular bays on the bottom of the case which can be re-arranged to make more space for longer power supplies. Interestingly, the modular bays were also designed to hold the 2.5″ SSD drive which are getting more and more use lately.

Noise and Cooling

The overall noise produced by the four standard 120mm fans is medium-low.  With the box closed, the overall noise is actually very low, almost imperceptible if you have a moderately noisy room. The normal direction of the air flow is from the front through the back and I have to admit, the whole setup is very efficient and really keeps even a SLI system cool and happy over prolonged periods of time.

Accessories:

Inside the box there is a small bag containing all the screws you might need, a small buzzer and several plastic ties to aid in the cable management section.

dsc_3790dsc_3792

Conclusion

RAIDMAX Helios is one of the best gaming cases in its price range I have seen. With a really cool high tech design, subtle blue LED lighted fans, modern covers for the 5.25″ bays and front mounted USB 2.0 and e-SATA, it looks stylish and more expensive than its costs, sure to attract a lot of envy. The cooling system is excellent and keeps up with the heat generated by today’s SLI gaming systems, even under heavy use.

I really liked the modular racks for 2.5″ SSD or  3.5″ HDDs installation, the tool-free mounting system for the front bays and even the dual tube outlets for a water cooling system, if you will ever need one. Not a really big deal but it demonstrates the amount of thinking RAIDMAX put in Helios design. Maybe the only part where it doesn’t get the highest marks is the rather thin lateral panels, but if you don’t plan to carry it around too often that shouldn’t be a major problem. After installation the whole box feels really tough and sturdy. Another little thing I would change is the quality of the 4 pin MOLEX connectors used to power the cooling fans. The contacts are not sturdy and tend to come out. It was a pain connecting them to the power supply.

Pros:

  • Cool high tech design
  • innovative front drive covers
  • excellent price/value ratio
  • cable management system (update: much better in the new VL version)
  • enough space for the longer three-fan dual GPU graphic cards
  • 4 x 120mm fans standard in the base price

Cons:

  • rather thin lateral panels
  • crappy internal fan MOLEX connectors
  • no USB 3.0 unless you buy the advanced VL version

Competitors:

Antec Three Hundred, Antec Nine Hundred,

Gallery

Related posts:

Tags: , ,